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Online MBA program earns national recognition

January 07, 2015, Christi Mathis

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Although just five years old, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s online MBA program has again won national honors. 

For the second consecutive year, U.S. News and World Report ranked the program among its “Best Online Graduate Business Programs.” SIU’s program climbed to No. 36 this year, up significantly from the last year’s position at No. 51, according to rankings released today (Wednesday, Jan. 7). This is the fourth year for the online education program rankings. 

“We are very pleased to be noted among the top 50 programs in the country. This recognition reflects the strength of our faculty and our dedication to the highest standards of excellence in business education,” Jason Greene, interim dean of the College of Business, said. 

“Our goal with the online MBA program is to provide business professionals with access to a quality program as they seek to enhance their careers and their value to their organizations,” Greene added. “We are committed to remaining innovative in all of our programs and providing our students with transformational and relevant classroom experiences -- even when the classroom is virtual.” 

The rankings are based on a number of factors, including student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology. According to the U.S. News and World Report website, more than 1,200 distance education degree programs were evaluated and all that were more than a year old with at least 10 students enrolled were considered for the rankings.  

Officials note that the primary participants in these programs are working adults who seek advanced education, skills and credentials to better their careers but who typically don’t have the schedule flexibility to take traditional on-campus classes. 

“One of our primary objectives when creating the online program was to provide extraordinary flexibility for today’s fast-paced, 24/7, multi-tasking lifestyle of executives without sacrificing the substance of a brick-and-mortar program,” Donna Margolis, MBA program director, said. “While the ranking reflects excellent progress toward meeting this objective, we will continue to strive to enhance the online program in an effort to enhance the lives of the professionals obtaining their degrees with us.” 

SIU begins a new online MBA cohort each summer and is now accepting applications for this summer’s class. The program takes 23 months to complete, with students taking courses together in an interactive format. There are currently 92 online students and the application deadline for early admission to the next group is March 1. 

The online MBA program and College of Business have earned various other national accolades as well. The Princeton Review recognized the College of Business in its 2015 edition of “The Best 295 Business Schools.”  

The online MBA program was also ranked No. 40 among all public schools in the country on the recent Online MBA Report, from Authority Media, as well as No. 10 in the Midwest. In addition, SIU earned a spot in the Top Online MBA Super Ranking for 2014-15 from Top Management Degrees, coming in at No. 43 in the nation, and Affordable Colleges Online recently recognized SIU as one of the best online accounting programs, awarding the university the No. 57 position. 

The publication also ranked the university’s online bachelor’s degree programs at No. 177 of 287 public, private and for-profit institutions that grant online bachelor’s degrees.